Art of Meenakari
“I love jewelry because, no matter how much weight I gain or lose, it always fits”- Ellen Pleesant
Isn’t this true?
A classic piece of jewelry drives every woman around the world head over heals. Since the beginning of its journey, jewelry has been inseparable from the women who adorn it.
India, a country rich in its culture and heritage, witnesses a wide array of jewelry arts, ranging from Kundan, Meenakari, Thewa, Gems to intricate Gold and Silver work.
Every single jewelry art form has a story behind it. For today, let’s just pick one of the age old arts of a jewelry style, Meenakari.
If you are an ardent jewelry shopper then we believe Meenakari jewelry is mandatory on your checklist.
Meenakari is a Persian art of enamelling with brilliant colours on the surface of a metal.
This art form was alien to India until it was introduced by the Mughals around 16th century. King Man Singh brought skilful meenakar’s from Mughal palace and introduced Meenakari art in Rajasthan.
The process of making this age old art continues to be the same and needs amplitude of skill and precision. The process starts with the designer using silver and gold as the base for the enamelling before handing it over to the goldsmith, who then engraves delicate designs on the metal.
These grooves are then applied with colours as per their level of hardness, hardest one being the first, as the colour fusing is done by passing through the furnace. Often a layer of transparent enamel is applied at the end.
Traditional Meenakari art to Modern day Meenakari art
Traditionally the bright meenakari colours were a mix of powdered glass, which added distinctive shine to the colours.
Some colours such as 'deep red' were just not easy to create though.
This method however, had a drawback of getting cracks or scratches at meenakari portions if the piece fell or got mishandled. Most modern day makers prefer an alternate method, where the colour is mixed with hardener, with no involvement of glass powder.
This method is more durable, keeps the colors unchanged for the longest time and in case of any minor damages, the jewelry can also be repaired which isn’t possible with traditional meenakari.
We aren’t saying the new method is something one should always go with. Depends on how affable you are towards traditional jewelry.
Today Meenakari isnt just restricted to metals, but can be seen on various surfaces including precious & semi-precious stones.
The passage which has been created from going traditional to contemporary one can relate to the quote: ‘Art is either revolution or plagiarism’ - Paul Gaugin .
Meenakari art has been there since ages and has evolved itself; with due respect to the art, the skilled craftsman with their agility and precision showcase a mesmerizing piece making it analogous to the traditional art style.
Nirwaana, a contemporary jewelry brand from India, offers today’s urban woman the unique blend of traditional art and modern designs, through its styles. Take a look some of the handcrafted Meenakari jewelry styles from Nirwaana here.